Onslow County School District issues guidance for public ahead of Tuesday board meeting

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -The Onslow County School Board meets Tuesday night for the first time since the controversial election of a new member to the board, and the school system is offering some guidance on what residents will be permitted to do at the meeting.

Since winning a seat on the board, there have been calls for Republican Eric Whitfield to step down. Whitfield will be sworn in December first and plans to stay there.

Whitfield was criticized in March for using the term “ignorant darkies” in reference to a group of African Americans in a Facebook post during his campaign.

Jacksonville Christian Academy leaders fired Whitfield over the comment. The Onslow County GOP has denounced the term and Whitfield’s candidacy and says they did not campaign for him.

Onslow County Schools says, “There has been much conversation in the community and on social media from individuals and groups wishing to address the Onslow County Board of Education at their regular monthly meeting regarding the outcome of the recent local BOE elections. It is important for the community to understand there are no statutory procedures in North Carolina available for a local board to use to remove one of its members.”

Additionally, the school system says they want, “Individuals or groups wishing to speak understand that the processes and procedures regarding public participation at any Board of Education meeting are governed by Onslow County Board of Education Policy 2310: Public Participation at Board Meetings. This policy creates two public comment periods. In both, comments are limited to five (5) minutes per speaker. The first period comes before the general business section of the agenda. Comments in this first period must be “directly issue-oriented with the agenda items for the Board’s current meeting.” The second period follows completion of the Board’s general business, and comments here must be “issue-oriented and related to matters under the control of the Board of Education.”

A spokesperson for the county Republican Party told WITN News that they are disappointed with the election result, and they hope Whitfield steps down.

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